Carlton Lewis Sr.

Pastor Of Mount Olive Baptist Church In Turners Station Worked To Improve The Baltimore County Neighborhood

July 29, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

The Rev. Carlton Lewis Sr., a former steel worker who served as pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Turners Station since 1991, died in his sleep July 20 at Future Care Canton Harbor nursing home.

The longtime Dundalk resident, who had not retired, was 82.

"Everyone in Turners Station knows that we've lost a really good man," said the Rev. Joseph Lewis (no relation), pastor of Greater St. John Baptist Church, also in Turners Station.

"He loved singing and preaching. He loved the Lord. He loved working for the Lord. And he loved the Lord's people," Mr. Lewis said.

Dr. Lewis was born and raised in Elizabeth City, N.C. After graduation from P. W. Moore High School in 1943, he enlisted in the Navy, where he served until being discharged in 1945.

He moved to Baltimore in 1957 when he took a job at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant working as a welder. He retired in 1991.

Dr. Lewis joined Mount Olive Baptist Church in the early 1960s. He taught Sunday school and was Sunday school superintendent.

He expanded his involvement in the Mount Olive Road church when he began singing with the male chorus and served as a member of the board of deacons. He was also chairman of the building fund for many years.

Dr. Lewis earned bachelor's and master's degrees in theology from Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg, Va., and a doctorate in theology in 1993 from Maryland Theological Seminary.

In 1979, he was ordained a Baptist minister at Mount Olive Baptist and became its pastor in 1991.

Under his leadership and guidance, the church established a Living Sober ministry and separate ministries for men, women, youth and young adults. Dr. Lewis established a food bank at the church for the community's needy.

Dr. Lewis was also active in the Turners Station community and was a former president of the Turners Station Recreational Council. He also headed or began a number of other community programs.

He was a member, leader and trainer for the Boy Scouts of America, which presented him with the organization's prestigious Silver Beaver Award in recognition of his work.

In addition to his church and community work, Dr. Lewis had been a professor of ministerial ethics for the past decade at the Maryland Theological Seminary.

"I've known Pastor Lewis for more than 30 years, and when I took over Maryland Theological Seminary in 1995, I called him up and asked him to come and teach," said the Rev. Russell E. Groves, who is president of the seminary and has been pastor of Canaan Baptist Church for the past 22 years.

"He had a great gift for touching people's lives and touched so many lives. He was a man who wanted to do whatever he could to help humanity," said Mr. Groves. "It would be a far better world if we had more folks like Carlton Lewis in it."

Mr. Groves said that his friend taught until the end of the spring semester.

"He was so good at teaching ministerial ethics. He gathered back his students and went over the final exam question by question. He didn't have to do that, but he did," said Mr. Groves.

He described Dr. Lewis as a "powerful and strong preacher with a dynamic delivery who always got to the depth of the word."

His fellow minister, Mr. Lewis, recalled, "You could always feel what he was saying by the way he delivered his message."

Dr. Lewis had served as president and later treasurer of the Baltimore County Ministerial Alliance and was a member of the United Baptist Missionary Convention of Maryland.

Services were held Saturday at Dr. Lewis' church.

Surviving are his wife of 61 years, the former Alline Johnson; two sons, Carlton Lewis Jr. of Tampa, Fla., and Samuel Lewis of Baltimore; two daughters, Laverna Brothers of Elizabeth City and Angela Smith of Dundalk; a brother, Clarence Lewis Sr. of Elizabeth City; 12 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-granddaughter. He was predeceased by three children, James Lewis, John Lewis and Sharon Smith,

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